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Instagram's New Terms Of Service: 5 Things You Need To Know

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If you've used Instagram today, you may have seen a little bubble appear at the top of your News Feed.

It reads thus:

We're making some improvements and updating our Privacy Policy & Terms of Service. Read more about our changes.

It links to lengthy explanations of the new changes, which it says are "part of our new collaboration" with Facebook (which acquired Instagram earlier this year) and geared toward building "better experiences for our users."

Chances are you haven't read all of the text and probably won't. So here's what you need to know about the new Terms of Service, which takes effect on January 16, 2013.

1. Your data will be used for ads. Ads are coming to Instagram. This isn't a surprise. However, the new terms outline the fact the ads will use your data, photos and even the metadata (read: geo-location data), for targeting purposes. As The Social Times says, "Get ready for some ads starring your friends and you." In fact, your data may be used as a way to endorse sponsored content or promotions. This part is described in the Rights section of the new terms.

"Some or all of the Service may be supported by advertising revenue. To help us deliver interesting paid or sponsored content or promotions, you agree that a business or other entity may pay us to display your username, likeness, photos (along with any associated metadata), and/or actions you take, in connection with paid or sponsored content or promotions, without any compensation to you."

2. Ads may not be marked clearly. You may not even know that ads are ads. This one seems curious since Facebook's sponsored content is typically clearly marked as such. However, the new Instagram Rights section says:

"You acknowledge that we may not always identify paid services, sponsored content, or commercial communications as such."

3. Instagram can use your photos. You own the content you post, but Instagram can use any of it without any issues. The Rights section says specifically:

Instagram does not claim ownership of any Content that you post on or through the Service. Instead, you hereby grant to Instagram a non-exclusive, fully paid and royalty-free, transferable, sub-licensable, worldwide license to use the Content that you post on or through the Service, except that you can control who can view certain of your Content and activities on the Service as described in the Service's Privacy Policy, available here: http://instagram.com/legal/privacy/.

4. Be aware of your responsibility when you post new photos. You are responsible for any issues involving content you post, not Instagram.

You agree that Instagram is not responsible for, and does not endorse, Content posted within the Service. Instagram does not have any obligation to prescreen, monitor, edit, or remove any Content. If your Content violates these Terms of Use, you may bear legal responsibility for that Content.

5. Backup your photos. You might want to back up your photos periodically. There's no guarantee they'll always be there. As the new Rights section writes:

Instagram is not a backup service and you agree that you will not rely on the Service for the purposes of Content backup or storage. Instagram will not be liable to you for any modification, suspension, or discontinuation of the Services, or the loss of any Content.

You can read the new Terms of Service in full here. How do you feel about the changes? Let us know in the comments.

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